Woman struck by mystery illness
31-year-old mother left in child-like state
Leena Ramrattan likes to watch cartoons, and she whimpers if you switch the television off.
She wears disposable diapers, and is fed, bathed and carried to and from her bed by her parents.
But Leena Ramrattan is no toddler. She is a 31-year-old woman with a baby son. She was stricken by a mystery illness approximately one year ago following a Caesarean delivery.
This illness has left her in a child-like state, from which her worried parents fear she may never recover.
According to Leena’s mother, Gomatie Ramrattan, her daughter, who resides at Diamond, East Bank Demerara, was a healthy, normal young woman when she was admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation’s Maternity Ward (GPHC) on February 9 last year.
Mrs. Ramrattan recalled that Leena knew that her baby would be delivered by Caesarean section, but expressed apprehension about the procedure.
That very day, Leena gave birth to a healthy baby boy, and everything appeared to be normal.
“After she got the baby, she was okay,” Mrs. Ramrattan recalled.
“She walked up the steps (to the Maternity Ward) and had the baby with her.”
Leena, she said, was given blood after the surgery.
It was during this period, some four days after her delivery, that the parents got their first signs that all was not well.
Mrs. Ramrattan said that Leena went to have a bath, but suddenly ran screaming from the washroom of the Maternity Ward.
She reportedly underwent some medical tests, and mother and baby were eventually discharged ten days after delivery.
Again, Leena displayed troubling symptoms.
“When she was discharged she was a normal person, and she came down the hospital steps with the baby,” Mrs. Ramrattan said.
“But when she entered the car, she started hollering and saying stop the car or she would jump out.”
They said that, after this strange bout, Leena behaved like a normal mother and took car of her baby son.
But, about ten days later, her strange behaviour returned.
The parents took their daughter back to the GPHC’s Accident and Emergency Department for further tests.
They found no physical ailments, and referred her to the hospital’s psychiatric clinic.
According to Mrs. Ramrattan, a psychiatrist at the clinic informed them that Leena was suffering from depression.
Mrs. Ramrattan said that staff at the Psychiatric Clinic gave Leena medication for her alleged depression.
However, she began refusing to take her medication, and her condition began to deteriorate. Eventually, she slipped into the child-like state that she is now in.
She seldom eats, has become severely underweight, and is now apparently too weak to walk.
When Kaieteur News visited the home last week, Leena was sitting on the floor watching cartoons on television, but saying nothing.
However, she began to whimper when one of the relatives turned the television set off.
“She is like this all the time,” Mrs. Ramrattan said.
“She has to be fed. She’d sleep away whole day. She sits and does not talk. She lies listless. She does not walk.” Leena’s in-laws take care of her eleven-month-old son.
Sometimes, Leena displays signs which give her parents a glimmer of hope.
Last week, for instance, Leena’s in-laws brought her son, and the mother responded by feeding the child some ‘corn curls.’
However, she reacted with indifference when it was time for him to leave.
A prominent local physician suggested that Leena may be suffering from postpartum depression, a form of severe depression which some women experience after delivery.
However, he suggested that Leena’s relatives take her back to the physician who performed the Caesarean surgery for further diagnosis, something that the relatives never did.
At present, Mrs. Ramrattan says, she is at a loss as to her next move.
She hopes that the publishing of her daughter’s plight may lead to medical assistance in treating and curing her ailing daughter.